Politics briefly

The Trump administration has unveiled restrictions limiting the amount of money Cuban-Americans can send to family in Cuba and prohibiting remittances to certain government officials. “The United States holds the Cuban regime accountable for its oppression of the Cuban people and support of other dictatorships throughout the region,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The change sets a $1,000 cap on the money one person can send to a Cuban family member every three months, and prohibits all remittances to relatives who are Cuban officials or members of the Cuban Communist Party. Nonfamily remittances are prohibited.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he is urging European allies to pick up the tab for military construction projects in their countries defunded by the Pentagon to pay for President Donald Trump’s border wall. The comments come after the Defense Department announced 127 construction projects that it plans to defund to free up $3.6 billion for fencing and barriers on the southern border with Mexico. Among the defunded initiatives is some $770 million worth of construction projects in Europe that are designed to help U.S. allies better defend themselves in the event of an attack by Russia.

The federal agency that oversees the National Weather Service has sided with Trump over its own scientists in the ongoing controversy over whether Alabama was at risk of a direct hit from Hurricane Dorian. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Alabama was in fact threatened by the storm at the time that Trump tweeted Alabama would “most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated.” The NOAA statement made no reference to the fact that when Trump tweeted Alabama was at risk it was not in the National Hurricane Center’s “cone of uncertainty,” which is the zone in which forecasters determine the storm is most likely to track. The statement also admonished the National Weather Service office in Birmingham, Ala., which contradicted Trump’s claim.

Howard Schultz, the former chief executive of Starbucks who took steps earlier this year to prepare to run for president as an independent, announced that he was abandoning those plans. Schultz said he had concluded that an independent bid would pose too great a risk of helping Trump win a second term.

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